If recent reports that have surfaced are true, erstwhile PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko might be making his way to the gates of the UFC in the not-too-distant future.
The once “Baddest Man on the Planet” is currently riding a redemptive two-fight win streak against the likes of mid-tier fighters Jeff Monson and Satoshi Ishii.
Prior to those victories, Fedor had encountered something that was more or less alien to him for nigh on a decade—defeat.
In his last trio of outings for San Jose-based organization Strikeforce, the Russian mixed martial artist was to lose all three—one more devastating than the other—a submission loss to Fabricio Werdum and a TKO defeat to Antonio Silva.
However, for the coup de grâce, Fedor was knocked out by Dan Henderson—the first time he’d ever been actually stopped in his storied career (the loss to Tsuyoshi Kohsaka was by of doctor stoppage).
With that said, if Fedor does make it to the UFC, what fights await him?
Let’s take a look.
Dan Henderson has stated vigorously that the only fights that’ll get him out of bed are title fights—light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and 185-lb kingpin Anderson Silva.
Nonetheless, with Fedor Emelianenko in the UFC, a rematch isn’t out of the question—if the price is right. I’m sure “H-Bomb” can be persuaded to throwdown with Fedor one more time. That and the fact this fight has pay-per-view success written all over it.
In their last bout contested at heavyweight, Henderson conceded more than 15 pounds to Fedor’s 223 and was still victorious, so he’ll believe he can repeat that feat.
For Fedor, a fight with Henderson would mentally do him the world of good, conversely, a win would go a long way in redeeming himself—he possesses the requisite arsenal; all he has to do is perfectly execute his game plan.
In today’s world of heavyweights, at 220-plus pounds, Fedor is considered one of the smaller heavyweights. Some observers believe his defeats at the hands of Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Silva may have been as a result of that size disadvantage, and as such, are under the impression that he’ll fair better in the 205 assemblage.
What better way to make a statement of intent than by immediately throwing down with the division’s reigning titlist Jon “Bones” Jones, assuming he’s still the champ by then?
Jones’s unorthodox style is bound to pose him a plethora of problems, but his losses aside, Fedor wasn’t named one of the greatest MMA fighters for no reason. Therefore, it should be quite an interesting and good fight which could easily turn into a great matchup.
A fight between Fedor and former UFC titlist Cain Velasquez has been on the radar for some time, given that the latter lost said title to Junior dos Santos back in November 2011.
Velasquez has a date to keep with Frank Mir at UFC 146, however, win or lose, the Mexican-American would make for a perfect clash as both are noted for their stand-and-bang style of fighting.
At present, Frank Mir is one of the best submission practitioners in the UFC’s heavyweight division, and he cemented that accolade with a second victory over submission specialist Antonio “Big Nog” Nogueira, when he slapped on a kimura to snap the Brazilian’s arm at UFC 140.
In the past, Mir has questioned the authenticity of Fedor’s tag as being one of the greatest exponents of MMA. That said, “The Last Emperor,” no slouch on the ground either (16 submission wins), could take this fight and prove him wrong, and if victorious, a top-five rank awaits.
The Denver native is another one of those heavyweights who predominantly loves to use their fists rather than take matters to the ground.
However, Shane Carwin does has five submission victories to his seven T/KOs, and that makes him an ideal candidate for Fedor Emelianenko, who himself is comfortable on his feet as well as the mat.
In addition, Carwin, who has fought and lost to both Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos, currently has the distinction of being a No. 5 ranked fighter in MMA’s heavyweight division—a win for Fedor would catapult him to the next chapter of his UFC tenure.
Fedor Emelianenko fought Antonio Nogueira on three separate occasions whilst both resided in the now defunct PRIDE organization—the Russian took the honors twice (unanimous decision wins), with one no contest.
His first victory was for the PRIDE heavyweight crown, and in the other, he unified the interim heavyweight championship—both held at the time by the Brazilian.
“Big Nog,” a master of submissions—20 in 33 wins was recently submitted by Frank Mir and suffered a broken arm in the process.
Whether the injury will impact his future fights is anyone’s guess, but either way, a contest with Nogueira bodes well for Fedor—it’s one he can surely win.
Now that Fabricio Werdum resides in the UFC, Fedor would get the opportunity to exact sweet revenge on the man who was responsible for triggering a cataclysmic chain of events which resulted in the first of three defeats on his then almost unblemished career.
The submission wizard, who made a successful second stint in the Zuffa-base organization with a unanimous decision win against Roy Nelson at UFC 143, is next slated to face off against Mike Russow at UFC 147.
Another Fedor conqueror is the Brazilian Antonio “Big Foot” Silva—like fellow countryman Fabricio Werdum, he also put a dent in Russian’s record—dominating him in brutal fashion until a tumescent eye brought a halt to proceedings at the end of Round 2.
Even though Fedor was outsized and outgunned for the duration of the bout, Silva’s knockout loss to Daniel Cormier should give him a ray of hope that the former EliteXC heavyweight titlist isn’t insurmountable.
That said, Silva’s UFC debut is scheduled for UFC 146 against Roy “Big Country” Nelson.
On Fedor’s UFC debut, Cheick Kongo could serve as cannon fodder—the Frenchman has all the attributes to make it to the top of the MMA food chain, however, his oftentimes lack of consistency leaves a lot to be desired.
With Kongo’s aforementioned shortcomings and his penchant for a right tear up, as well as his style of fighting—stand up striker/kickboxer—should play into the hands of Fedor, and a victory should be assured.
If ever Fedor needed a confidence booster before the UFC hierarchy throws him into the deep end of the heavyweight divisions infested shark pool, then Pat Barry is it.
Albeit “HD” is near enough always up for a fistic bagarre and possesses decent punching power, his size equates well with that of the 35-year-old Fedor, and as consequence, the matchup should favor the latter.
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